VHQ: A String of Urban Pearls

Vancouver’s Historic Quartiers

  1. 1865 Hastings Mill & Townsite
  2. 1870 Granville Townsite (Gastown)
  3. Chinatown
  4. Strathcona
  5. Industrial Quartier (no name)
  6. 1863 Hastings Townsite
  7. The Drives
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The first European settlement on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet proved unsuccessful.

In 1863 a Colonial Government Reserve was registered on the area immediately west of today’s Pacific National Exhibition grounds (PNE). Named the Hastings Townsite, it had a direct link to New Westminster via the Douglas Road opened by the Royal Engineers in 1860. However, the Hastings government townsite would not develop until the 1900’s, at the same time as the Drives, but well after the formative decades of our city. We note that platting in the East End, the West End, and the Hastings government townsite retain characteristics that do not originate with the CPR.

In 1865 a Crown Grant of D. L. 196 was given to Stamp’s (Hastings) Mill one mile to the west of the Hastings Townsite. The mill soon became the going concern on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. In 1870, the year before British Columbia joined confederation, the Granville Townsite (Gastown) was platted against the western boundary of the Hastings Mill lands. Gastown attracted significant development, including saloons, hotels, services and homes.

Along with the railway came rapid change. The ultimate site for the Canadian Pacific Railway terminus was declared in 1884; the City of Vancouver received its provincial Charter two years later; and the plan for the City of Vancouver—drawn by the CPR—was registered in 1887.

The Hastings Mill townsite, manager’s row, early Japantown, and a cottage lot district, collectively became known as the East End. The mill site, and the growing port operations along the Burrard shoreline, shaped the development in the East End. Then, beginning in 1891, regular CPR steamship service to Asia boosted the growth of both Chinatown and Japantown.

© Lewis N. Villegas, Vancouver, January 2012.

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